GreenYes Digest V97 #174

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GreenYes Digest Tue, 22 Jul 97 Volume 97 : Issue 174

Today's Topics:
Fwd: Re: On Trees and Farms
GreenYes Digest V97 #173
Recycling Rates for Glass includes Reuse

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Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 13:45:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Fwd: Re: On Trees and Farms

Hi Bill,

I read your response to me, and I have to disagree - again - with your
characterization of my position. I'll get around to replying in detail
when I have some time. I wanted our larger audience to have the benefit
of your argument, so I'm forwarding this message to the two lists we've
been debating on.

I did want to respond immediately, though, to one claim you made:

You say that I have engaged in ad hominem attacks, yet you imply that you
are not guilty of such behavior. Please re-read your previous messages
to me. Yes, I suggested that you might want to go work for Weyerhauser -
that's because you seem to parrot their Wise Use line so well. That's
not necessarily an attack on you, rather a suggestion for possibly
better-paying employment than you're getting in academia. They'll
appreciate your vociferous defense of unfettered capitalism and their
free-wheeling pro-corporate, anti-environmental agenda.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I get a bit testy when someone who dishes it
out as elegantly as you do just can't take a bit of it...

David Orr

Subject: Re: On Trees and Farms
Sent: 7/21/97 1:37 AM
From: (William P. McGowan)


Attached is a response I worked up and did not send because I finally
decided it was not worth the effort--as far as mischaraterizing your
arguments, that depends on your point of reference. I merely think you
do not understand basic economics, which is the substance of my criticism.

David Orr,

First and foremost, I want to respond to you so that you can understand
that I am not averse to engaging in a serious debate over the issues.

Second, it is always unfortunate when the debate turns into name calling,
and I hope that in any future discusssions about deforstation and
displacement theory that you will not engage in the kind of ad hominen
attacks that characterized your last response.
I am professionally trained as an academic, and as such I am
interested in what we still euphemistcally call "the truth." In
academe, this truth derives from differences in opinion articulated
either in writing or in the repartee of acadmeic, Aristotlean dialogue.

While people of differing views are often brutal in the way they attack
the positions held by their colleagues, they never, and I emphaisze,
NEVER, engage in personnal
attacks because it detracts from the substance of what they have to say
in riposte.
Accusing me of having interests in the timber industry, or telling
me that I should go to work for Weyerheauser, a firm you obviously
disdain, did nothing for the dialogue we were engaged in. In academe,
when one attacks the person and not the substance, it is usually scored
as a win for the side being attacked.

Third, your investment in denouncing an argument which calls the virtue
of the Zero Cut Campaign into question has blurred your objectivity.
Allow me to expand:
1) You clain displacement theory does not occur based on three
elements: a) that other countries have different species of wood, and
therefore wood products are not fungible, b) that displacement has never
occurred with other resources, like oil, and c)
that third world forests are dissappearing at a rate which Zero Cut would
not affect.

On point a) Bleached Softwood Kraft comes from both hemispheres, and is
part of, what you readily admit, is a GLOBAL market for wood and wood
To use your own words, it results from the "ability of corporations to
move third world wood to the first world markets." Your statement
seems to support my contention that displacement does in fact occur.
Your words, not mine.

On b)--there was no expansion of oil exploration after the Oil Shocks of
1973 and 1979? Have you looked at the exploration budgets of the Seven
Sisters in the years following those events? What were they spending
all that money on, and why is it that new field were opened, or attempted
to be opened, in the Gulf of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, et cetera? Let
us not forget the oil boom that hit Colorado and Lousiana at the same
time--all new fields coming into production in response to higher oil
prices. In essence I am saying that your contention that displacement
never occurred in the oil industry after the oil shocks is in
contradiction with historical fact. Companies did consider reliance on
the Mid-east as chancy at best, and they did, with their and other
governments' urgings, explore, discover, and develope nbew oil fields

On c) the World Bank and the Club of Rome, not to mention the work of
Steven DeCanio (one of the initial sponsors of the Rio Earth Summit)
disagree with you. Deforestation in the Third Word is directly linked
to the global economy--a point which you incidently made in your last

2) You claim that some other, un-named resource can be used in lieau of
wood products--what that/those resource(s) be? Plastic? That requires
more oil. Better, stronger metals? That requires more mining. Both
options, are, as you know, unrenewable. As bad as Weyerheauser may be
in your eyes, they do replant where they cut, especially on their own
land, which brings me to the final problem with your last response.

3) That lumber companies cut as fast as they can and then move on.
Now, there are two logical problems with this. First and foremost, and
playing to the sellfish motives that drive all capitalists, why would
they want to cut away at random and ruin the market for their products.
Exploiting the rule of capture approach, the timber companies would flood
the market with products, drive prices below the cost of production, and
ruin one another. Cutting willy-nilly is the last thing a timber
company wants to do. Second, there is proof of this in the pre-Maxaam
days of Pacific Lumber of Scotia, California. Though they "managed"
their forests for generations, an approach which you disdain, they made
sure that they did not cut too much, and that they replanted whenever
they did.

When one believes as strongly as they do in a certain cause, they often
become blind to the other facts that may be germaine to their efforts.
You, for example, obviously missed the fact that I agree with you on the
poor nature of the Forest Services timber sales--they are giving timber
away, and it is they, not the timber companies, that have an incentive
to see that as much forest gets cut in as short a period as possible.
This system of subsidy was built over forty years, and it needs to be
changed. But unilaterally cancelling all cutting, as you propose, would
create more complications that the Zero Cut program would solve. With
no revenue from the sale of timber, the Forest Service would soon be
unable to support activities in forests which do not have cutting
programs, like the Los Padres forest. To assume, as you did in your last
missive, that funds collected in Oregon are not fungible and do not help
programs elsewhere, is unsupportable. Using an anaolgy from a group you
may find equally offensive, Ducks Unlimited, we have to recognize that
the protect certain parts of our forests, namely the old growth, we have
to make the sales from other, non-old growth regions pay the freight.
By stopping the Forest Service from making timber sales while
simultaneously demanding they keep public access rights the same, the
Sierra Club guarantees that a loophole none of us has thought of will be
created and exploited by timber interests in the name of expediency.

Finally, truth be known, I would prefer that all forests and timber
cutting stop in the U.S. because it would benefit me personally. As
someone who sells waste paper, I would have eliminated all of my
competition. But as a pragmatic environmentalist, one who makes his
living with no public subisidy, I recognize that I can not advocate for
a change in the economic system without dealing with the system as it
is. You want to change the entire system to get the changes you want.

Bill McGowan


Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 09:49:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: GreenYes Digest V97 #173

The reason that compainies can so-called recycle these hazardous wastes in
fertilizer and cement blocks, and who knows what, is because of loopholes in
the law. They come under the Beville Exclusion. Solite Corporation who is
in the process of being bought out by Giant Cement, takes the dust from their
bag houses and puts it in thier light weight cement block. This dust is
contaminated with heavy metals, dioxin, furans, PCB's and many other
hazardous constiuients.


Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 10:23:18 -0600
From: "John Reindl 608-267-8815" <>
Subject: Recycling Rates for Glass includes Reuse

In additon to the information from the Container Recycling Institute on
mis-leading data on PET recycling, it should be noted that the Glass
Packaging Institute counts the reuse/refilling of glass containers in
their recycling data.

While refilling is a higher priority than recycling -- and therefore
highly encouraged -- the combination of these data with recycling is
misleading in my mind, as it both hides the distinction between the two
methods of conserving resources, and makes the comparison of their data
to those of other containers misleading. Also, GPI has not been willing to
share how it gathers the data on recycling and refilling, or even
respond to my questions of how it counts a refillable bottle -- does it
count it just once, or each of the times it is refilled?

Sadly, the refilling rate is dropping greatly, From 1992 (the first
year that GPI prepared data for the entire industry) to 1996, the use
of refillables dropped 32% (on a weight basis, which is again somewhat
misleading as changes in the weight per container have an impact here)

John Reindl, Recycling Manager
Dane County, WI
(608)267-1533 - fax
(608)267-8815 - phone


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #174